HLG Weekly Newsletter

Mar 27,2017

1. Levinus Nwabughiogu, “Ease of Doing Business: Presidency Effects Visa-Free Policy”, Vanguard Nigeria, March 23, 2017


  • As part of measures to attract foreign investors and guarantee ease of doing business in Nigeria, the Federal Government has approved processing of visas within 48 hours and given waivers to some countries.
  • [Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industry, Trade, and Investment] said: “The Nigeria Immigration Service has consolidated arrival and departure forms; the Ministry of Interior has drafted a new Visa Policy outlining visa-free entry for certain countries and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a second directive on 48-hour visa processing time.”

2. Colville Mounsey, “Barbados, China Sign Visa Waiver Agreement”, Barbados Today, March 25, 2017


  • Minister of Foreign Affairs Senator Maxine McClean and Chinese Ambassador to Barbados Wang Ke signed the agreement this morning at McClean’s office on Culloden Road, St Michael.
  • Three years ago, the two countries had signed a visa waiver agreement for holders of diplomatic and service passports. Today’s pact extended the waiver to holders of ordinary passports.

3. Jennifer Lewington, “International Students Flooding Some Canadian Business Schools With Applications”, The Globe and Mail, March 20, 2017


  • Judged against increasingly stringent immigration rules in the United States and Britain – historically the top two destinations for foreign students – Canada is seen as relatively welcoming even with its own restrictions.
  • Rising tensions elsewhere and Canada’s relatively attractive immigration rules create an opening for business schools here when marketing abroad, according to Andrew Crisp, a London-based business education consultant.

4. Nicholaw Keung, “Study Shows Canadian Immigration System’s Shift Toward Migrant Workers”, The Toronto Star, March 22, 2017


  • Only nine per cent of temporary foreign workers who came in the mid-1990s successfully obtained permanent resident status, while some 21 per cent of them did by the end of 2014, according to the new Statistics Canada report.
  • The number of temporary residents entitled to work in Canada, including migrant workers and those under the international mobility program such as intra-company transfers, has tripled since early 2010s to more than 500,000, surpassing the 260,000 permanent residents settling here per year.
  • Ottawa has rolled out a number of immigration programs such as the Canadian Experience Class and the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) that favour immigration candidates with Canadian education credentials and work experience, turning foreign workers into a pool of prospective immigrants.

5. Ivan Semeniuk, “Federal Budget Positions Canada to Lure Scientists from U.S. and Britain”, The Globe and Mail, March 23, 2017


  • Canada’s upbeat language about science in the budget makes a not-so-subtle pitch for diversity and talent from abroad, including $117.6-million to establish 25 research chairs with the aim of attracting “top-tier international scholars.”
  • Universities and institutes in Canada say they are fielding inquiries from scientists abroad who are considering their options. “It’s happening, and Canada has to be ready for that,” said Paul Davidson, the president of Universities Canada. He added that the budget’s notes on improving the immigration process for highly skilled candidates would help Canada recruit science talent while there was an opportunity to do so.
United States

6. Shane McGinley, “Trump Travel Bans Spurs Arab Interest in U.S. Visa Investment Scheme”, Zawya, March 20, 2017


  • Since U.S. President Donald Trump was elected in January there has been a surge in the number of Arabs enquiring to be part of an investment programme offering the chance to earn American citizenship in return for a minimum cash injection of $500,000, according to a Dubai-based lawyer offering the scheme.
  • The rush of interest is also due to the fact that Congress is due to review the scheme in April and it is expected to raise the minimum investment required from $500,000 to over $800,000. Participation in such schemes has risen over the last few years, up from 1,369 approvals in 2010 to 7,632 last year, according to official data from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

7. “Rich Chinese Race to Apply for a U.S. Golden Visa”, Bloomberg, March 26, 2017


  • As members of Congress in Washington debate raising the minimum required to obtain a U.S. immigrant investor visa from $500,000 to $1.35 million, concern about the hike has set off a scramble among wealthy would-be participants in China.
  • While the government in Beijing spent much of 2016 working to stop its citizens sending money abroad in order to stabilize its declining currency and foreign reserves, Chinese investors’ use of EB-5 continued anyway, totaling $3.8 billion in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, according to data from the U.S. State Department.

8. Rishi Iyengar, “300 Billionaires Are Also Immigrants”, CNN, March 23, 2017


  • More than 80 of the world's wealthiest individuals were born in one of these three countries but now live abroad, according to new research from Hurun Report. Germany tops the list: 31 billionaires of German origin have migrated to another country, followed by India (30), greater China (24), the U.K. (16), U.S. (13) and Italy (11). In total, Hurun Report said that 300 -- that's 13% -- of the world's billionaires no longer live in the country of their birth.
  • The U.S. […] is the top overall destination for immigrant billionaires, with 73 of them now calling the country home. That includes Google's Russian-born co-founder Sergey Brin, whose net worth of $36 billion makes him the world's richest immigrant.

9. “Macao Passport Holders Granted Visa-on-Arrival Entry to Ukraine”, Xinhua, March 20, 2017


  • Holders of passports of China's Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) will be granted visa-on-arrival entry to Ukraine, authorities said on Monday.
  • The identification services bureau of Macao SAR has been confirmed on Monday by the embassy of Ukraine in China that holders of the Macao SAR passport traveling to Ukraine with tourist or business purpose can obtain a single-entry visa upon their arrival at Boryspil International Airport in Kyiv and Odessa International Airport in Odessa for a maximum stay of 15 days.

10. “96% Visa Approval Rate: US Envoy”, Sin Chew Daily, March 20, 2017


  • The United States Ambassador to Malaysia Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir said the approval rate of US visa applications for Malaysian citizens was very high, with up to 99% of student visa applications approved. The visa applications of fewer than 4% of Malaysian citizens are rejected, meaning more than 96% of visa applicants have been given the green light to travel to the Untied States.
  • Despite the devaluation of ringgit, the number of Malaysian students pursuing their studies in the Untied States surged 8.3% to a 15-year high of 7,834 last year. According to the statistics of the Institute of International Education, Malaysia has become the 22nd largest source of international students in the Untied States, third in Asean after Vietnam (sixth) and Indonesia (19th).

11. “Indians No Longer Need to Pay RM370 to Visit Malaysia”, Daily Express, March 23, 2017


  • A new visa scheme for Indian tourists, aimed at increasing their numbers, will be introduced on April 1. Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said the new scheme would see Indian tourists only paying US$20 (RM88.50) for a 15-day visit. Approval, he said, would be within 48 hours.
  • He said the number of Indian tourists dropped from 722,141 in 2015 to 638,578 last year. He further added that he was currently in discussion with AirAsia and Malindo Air to increase flights to India.

12. Tashny Sukumaran & Coco Liu, “Why Are Chinese Moving to Malaysia by the Thousands?” South China Morning Post, March 25, 2017


  • Those under the [Malaysia My Second Home] MM2H scheme are considered “expats”, an elite, high-earning group. The scheme allows successful applicants largely unrestricted travel into and out of Malaysia as well as various incentives and tax exemptions. However, it comes with stringent eligibility criteria as well: liquid assets of 350,000 Malaysian ringgit (HK$615,000) to 500,000 ringgit, fixed deposits and a minimum price cap on purchasing property so as to curb speculation.
  • In 2016, more than 1,000 Chinese signed up for the scheme, fleeing the freezing cold winters and dangerous pollution levels of their homeland – 43.9 per cent of applicants were Chinese, with Japanese a distant second at 9.2 per cent.
South Korea

13. Chae Sung-jin, “Jeju Offers 15-Day Visa-Free Entry for Southeast Asians”, The Chosunilbo, March 23, 2017


  • The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on Wednesday said it will enable electronic visa processing for tour groups from Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam in May. Groups of five or more people from those countries can get visas through their travel agencies without having to visit the Korean embassy.
  • Starting in June, Southeast Asian tourists will be allowed 15-day, visa-free entry to Jeju Island without needing a transit visa for the Korean mainland, the ministry said.

14. Chen Chun-hua & Francis Huang, “Taiwan to Extend Visa Free Status for Thai, Bruneian Tourists”, Focus Taiwan, March 20, 2017


  • Taiwan is planning to extend its visa-free preferential treatment for visitors from Thailand and Brunei when the current one-year trial period expires in July, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) official said Monday.
  • Citing government statistics, Chung said arrivals from Thailand and Brunei for the period of August to December 2016 rose 81 percent and 62 percent, respectively, from a year earlier.
  • The foreign ministry is considering the possibility of granting visa-free status to other countries under the New Southbound Policy, in particular states in the ASEAN bloc, Chung said.
United Arab Emirates

15. Issac John, “Free On-Arrival Visas to Chinese, Russians Fuel Spurt in Dubai Tourist Traffic”, Khaleej Times, March 22, 2017


  • Dubai recorded a significant jump in tourist traffic in the first two months of 2017 on the back of a sudden surge in Chinese and Russian visitors following the introduction of free on-arrival visas for both nationalities.
  • The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) reported a stellar 12 per cent year-on-year growth across the first two months of 2017, which saw Dubai welcoming just over three million visitors. The growth in numbers was nearly four times the rate of the previous year, giving a key indication that Dubai is on track to surpass its target of hitting 20 million visitors by 2020.

16. “UAE and Armenia Citizens Exempted From Entry Visas”, Gulf News, March 22, 2017


  • The UAE and Armenia have agreed on exempting citizens of both countries from visas as they will be given visas on arrival at the airport. The decision came during the meeting yesterday between His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Serzh Sargsyan, President of Armenia.
  • During the meeting held at the Presidential Palace, Shaikh Mohammad and Sargsyan agreed on exempting citizens of both nations from entry visas, with the agreement coming into effect immediately.

17. Monira Matin, “Italy Introduces Non-Dom Tax Breaks to Lure Wealthy Foreigners”, International Adviser, March 24, 2017


  • Similar to the UK’s non-dom system, the new flat rate tax of €100,000 ($107,865, £86,306) a year, which went live on 8 March, will give foreigners a special status exempting them from paying Italian tax on any offshore income and gains. This charge can also be extended to family members, at a cost of €25,000 per person.
  • One of the conditions is that the individual must reveal their tax residency location to the Italian authorities and would have had to have resided abroad for nine of the last ten years. A person is considered an Italian resident for tax purposes if they are in the country for more than 183 days, or six months.
  • Meanwhile, a former Italian tax official told Bloomberg BNA the initiative is an attempt to entice UK-based high net-worth individuals (HNWs) to set up residency in Italy as a way to remain in the European Union following Brexit.

18. Al Gerard de la Cruz, “How Portugal is Giving Chinese Investors a Taste of the Med Lifestyle”, Property Report, March 20, 2017


  • The Chinese has made up the largest proportion of golden visa applicants to date. Chinese investors have secured 3,050 Portuguese golden visas. Portugal has always been one of the more accessible of the European countries offering such routes to citizenship. For as little as EUR350,000, Asian investors can secure permanent residency and benefit from Schengen-free access to most European countries.
  • Residential properties in Portugal were valued at EUR1,106 per square metre on average in January, a month-on-month increase of 0.5 percent, according to the National Statistics Institute.

19. “Exporters to Acquire Green Passport, Enjoy Visa-Free Travel”, Daily Sabah, March 23, 2017


  • The green passport grants visa-free travel to many countries across the globe and will be issued to the executives of exporting companies with a three-year export average of $1 to $10 million, while five executives for companies which export more than $100 per annum will be granted green passports.
  • Mehmet Büyükekşi, head of the Turkish Exporters' Assembly, noted that 10,000 companies are expected to benefit from the decision with around 14,000 passports. Büyükekşi highlighted that the passports are meaningful especially for exporters travelling to European countries since Turkey sends almost half of its exports to the EU.
United Kingdom

20. Ben Chu, “Brexit Latest: Data Points to Peak in Immigration of European Union Workers”, The Independent, March 23, 2017


  • In an analysis published on Thursday, the Resolution Foundation think tank highlights official data showing that new National Insurance registrations by EU migrants have plateaued since the referendum. It also points to data from the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) Labour Force survey, which shows the number of EU workers recorded in the UK appears to have peaked.
  • “Given that all three sources point to falling or plateauing migration flows, or indeed actually falling migrant worker numbers, we can be fairly confident that a shift is underway,” said Stephen Clarke, an analyst at the think tank.

21. David Scutt, “Australian Population Growth Picks Up as Immigration Hits a 4-Year High”, Business Insider, March 23, 2017


  • Australia’s population rose to 24.22 million in September last year, according to data released by the ABS this morning. The figure was up by close to 350,000, or 1.5%, from 12 months earlier, the fastest percentage increase since mid-2014.
  • “Net overseas migration added 193,200 people to the population, and accounted for 55% of Australia’s total population growth, the ABS said.
New Zealand

22. “NZ Calls for Pacific Applicants for Immigration Ballot”, Radio New Zealand, March 21, 2017


  • New Zealand's Immigration officials are encouraging people in Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati, Tuvalu and Fiji to register if they want to win residence in this country. Each year up to 1100 Samoan citizens, 250 Tongan and Fijian citizens and 75 Kiribati and Tuvaluan citizens are selected by ballot to be considered for residence in New Zealand.
  • Those who are successful then have eight months to lodge their resident visa applications, the critical part of which is an acceptable job offer from a New Zealand employer.

23. “Work Visa Arrivals Behind New Migration High”, Radio New Zealand, March 21, 2017


  • "About a third of all migrant arrivals for the year were people coming to New Zealand on work visas," Stats NZ population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan said. "Just over a quarter of all work-visa migrants were from the United Kingdom and France."
  • Westpac acting chief economist Michael Gordon said net migration should remain strong for some time "with New Zealand's positive economic story, including its labour market, making us an attractive destination".
  • The number of visitor arrivals also rose to a record high 3.54 million in the year to February, about 7000 more than the previous annual record set last month.


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